"he was Tarzan, Mandrake, Flash Gordon. He was Bill Shakespeare."

Public DomainTarzan
Tarzan was a fictional feral child, raised in the African jungle by apes, who returns to civilization only to reject it and become a heroic adventurer in the jungle. He was created by Edgar Rice Burroughs in a magazine story in 1912, and the first of 26 novels in 1914. The image at right is the cover art for Burroughs's first Tarzan story, in the October 1912 issue of "The All-Story" magazine. The character lived on in radio, television, and film adaptations.

Flash Gordon was the hero of a science fiction adventure, a rocket ship pilot, that first appeared in comic strip form in 1934. The story was intended to compete with a comic called Buck Rogers. The story went on to be dramatized in serial films, radio, television, and animated series.

Leon Mandrake was a Canadian magician (1911-1993), but Yossarian is probably comparing himself to a comic strip character, “Mandrake the Magician,” a specialist in hypnotic technique, who debuted in 1933 and continued to run as a color comic strip for the rest of the century -- also making appearances on radio and in films, theater, and television.

Bill Shakespeare was an English playwright.